Turkish-backed militants and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are clashing over the Syrian town of Tell Rifaat, located in Aleppo province.
An alliance of Turkish-backed militanat groups (MSM prefers to call them the Free Syrian Army or the FSA), operating under the banner of Ankara-led Operation Euphrates Shield, declared Tell Rifaat a military zone and gave the YPG 48 hours to leave the town on October 18. Tell Rifaat is a town in northern Aleppo located about 40km north of Aleppo city. It was seized by the YPG from Turkish-backed militants in February 2016.
On October 19, the so-called ‘FSA’ started shelling of YPG positions in Tell Rifaat while the Turkish Armed Forces’ artillery hit other YPG positions in the province (allegedly in Hasajik, Hasieh, Shahba Dam and Um Hosh).
In turn, pro-Kurdish sources started dissiminate info that the Russian airpower bombed FSA militants south of Mare and at Tell Malid.
The tensions between the Turkey-led forces and the Kurdish YPG icreased after the recent YPG advance in the direction of strategic ISIS-controlled town of Al-Bab. As result of the advance, the YPG took control of few villages located at the important roads heading to the ISIS-controlled town.
Meanwhile, to take control of Al-Bab and prevent the YPG’s chances to link up the Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria are one of the main goals of Turkish military operations in Syria.